maroon wave
Welcoming Community, Faculty Helped Wixted Find Home at SU

Welcoming Community, Faculty Helped Wixted Find Home at SU

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University faculty make sure each student feels welcome and encouraged to succeed. For SU alumnus John Wixted, that feeling started before he was even enrolled and was one of the main reasons he chose to attend SU.

A 2017 graduate with a degree in music, including dual certification in music education and voice performance, Wixted visited SU and many other institutions, auditioning for music faculty. It was the treatment he received from Dr. John Wesley Wright, professor of music in the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts, that made him feel like he was already part of the program.

Following his audition for the program, Wright began teaching the then-high school senior.

“Immediately after my audition, Dr. Wright asked if he could give me an impromptu voice lesson; of course I said ‘Yes,’ recalled Wixted. “It was amazing. Of the 10 schools I applied to and auditioned for, it was the only music program that immediately felt welcoming and like a family instead of a constant competition.”

Shortly after that audition, Wixted was invited back to SU to sit in on a rehearsal for an upcoming opera workshop and to audition for the following year’s musical.

Wixted observed a performance by Wright’s SU students in downtown Salisbury and, after seeing then-student Caitlyn Howard Crowley’s rendition of Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria, he knew “this is the place for me!”

The following day, when Wixted toured the campus, “I fell in love with the community and family aspect I felt the whole day,” he said. “The next day, on our way back home to New York, I put in my deposit.”

He has been a mainstay in classrooms and performances in the Wicomico County area since – many times these days the two collide, as Wixted has been a successful music teacher in Wicomico Public Schools since his graduation.

Currently the choir and theatre director at Mardela Middle and High School, he recently received an Award of Excellence from the Maryland Music Education Association as an Outstanding Music Educator.

Faculty at SU played a large role in Wixted’s successful education career, he says. Like Wright in that initial interaction, Wixted felt seen and was being taught true lessons, rather than just being talked at like someone may find at other institutions.

“Because so many of the professors in the Music, Theatre and Dance, and Secondary and Physical Education departments treated us like humans with lives rather than ‘just students,’ it gave us the confidence to explore and experience rather than simply worry that the work was just done on time,” he said.

“So many of the professors connected everything to being in the classroom and how it would affect us, our students, the community and school at large, or the parents. SU gave me opportunities to see and explore the profession in so many ways to help me know it was the right path for me and that I could be successful as an educator.”

Learn more about SU and opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at